Payh Blog
Mar 31, 2008

Tips on the Telephone

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Cell phones are everywhere. Just take a stroll around your local mall and try to count how many people are using their cells phones as they walk around. My guess is the number will be so high, you’ll lose count. Younger and younger children are now using cell phones as well. If your child doesn’t have a cell phone, more than likely some of his or her friends do.
Parents need to know what is available on their children’s cell phones: what can be accessed wirelessly, downloaded, viewed, etc. Think of it this way, the cell phone screen, has begun to replace the television and computer screen. Here are 10 points regarding the trends on cell phones:

  1. They are becoming more and more like a mobile computer everyday. So the same risks that your children have online are transferring to the cell phone.
  2. Next year, the U.S. cell phone market will be considered fully saturated. That means everyone in this country will have easy access to cell phones.
  3. SPAM, both for business and the Adult industry will be more prevalent on cell phones (just yesterday, I got a random text message on my cell phone to “Have a good time with…”)
  4. Social networking sites for teens such as My Space, Facebook, Twitter, etc are being made fully accessible with cell phones. They will be replaced on cell phones by sites like Moco Space.
  5. Privacy will become more and more of an issue. Cameras on phones already are an issue. Moblogs (mobile weblogs) will accelerate these privacy issues as users begin to share every aspect of their everyday lives.
  6. Cell phone addiction will become a serious problem.
  7. Access to pornography will be easier. All kinds of adult content are moving to mobile phones.
  8. Cell phone communication, texting, etc will foster a form of communication that facilitates communication without the reality of person-to-person interaction.
  9. Cyber Bullying is now using texting and social networking to become a greater threat to children.
  10. Parents are behind on the technological curve. Most children have a better understanding of what their cell phones are capable of than their parents. This will remain that way until parents actively engage using technology with their children.

If your children are interacting virtually and building relationships there, then a part of building your relationship with your children needs to occur there as well. Do not merely be content to say that technology is over your head!


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Payh Blog
Mar 26, 2008

Whose Holding Up Your Hands?

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Scriptural Basis:
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side and one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” Exodus 17:12-13.
Anderson’s Applications:
God could have secured this victory for His people in any number of ways as He did in other battles the Israelites fought. Why this manner? It is always worth the effort to consider what God’s teaching point is in His various methods. Paul writes in the NT that the events of the OT happened “as examples, to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things.” (I Corinthians 10:6, 11) Simply on the surface of it, it is hard enough to hold up just our own hands or arms all day without growing tired and having to lower them. God had made evident Moses’ hands must remain up if this battle was to be won. Moses required the supporting strength of his brother Aaron and Caleb’s son Hur to gain the victory. One holding up one arm and one the other was a necessity to escape defeat. Moses’ hands were stretched up in obedience, worship and prayer to the God who could deliver them out of defeat into victory.
It is no different for any of us in our battle with sin and Satan. It is not a battle we can win on our own. We are aware that we are absolutely helpless in Satan’s crosshairs if Christ is not our strength and shield. There are definitely battles we must fight on our own when Christ is our only help. He is enough! However, God has made it known to us that we are to rely on one another for strength as well. The wise author of Ecclesiastes says quite clearly that “two are better than one…pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up…though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) It is a great passage for married couples, but the point extends to friends, not only spouses. The right kind of friend “sticks closer than a brother.” David and Jonathan were such friends. Paul always took someone with him on all his missionary journeys. The letter to Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
How do you find such a friend, a friend of your gender that will be a spiritual strength, not a hindrance or stumbling block? Such a friend must be trustworthy, able to keep confidences, and deal with you out of a deep and abiding love. Remember that real love is not a synonym for tolerance. Real love desires your salvation. Real love pursues your sanctification and growth in grace with all humility. Real love will tell you when you are wrong without quibbling. Real love will hold you accountable and expect you to do the same with them. Real love is not satisfied with shallow surfaces, but goes deep into the nitty-gritty where the treacherous battles are fought. If you are married, a true friend’s love will protect and honor your marriage.
Again, how do you find such a friend? If you do not have one, you need to pray earnestly for one. You need to look for such a person, not just wait for them to show up on your doorstep. A person who desires friends must show them self friendly. You must look in the right place; among the family of God. You must help frame the purposes of such a relationship–to grow in godliness! You do not need a cohort in sin. Cohorts in sin are a dime a dozen! You need a friend in holiness. If you do not have such a friend, begin praying and looking for one today. This is a prayer God wants prayed, and one He delights in answering.
Encouragement:
“Heavenly Father, give me such a friend to help me hold up my hands in the battle.”


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Payh Blog
Mar 20, 2008

Prayer: An Exercise in Futility or Resurrection Power?

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Scriptural Basis:
“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” I Corinthians 15:16-17
Anderson’s Applications:
This is a very good week to evaluate whether or not you think prayer is an exercise in futility. What you think sometimes of your own experience with prayer may well be futility. Is it not at least one answer to why we do not pray with greater frequency and fervency? We frankly wonder if the time and the effort are worth it. Those of us who live in this culture are accustomed, so we think, to instant responses and answers. We have very little patience when such is not the case. Our minds are primarily, if not entirely, focused on physical realities we see and very little, if any, on spiritual realities which are just as real in us and everyone else. Simply because we refuse to see it doesn’t nullify the reality of the spiritual world or our spiritual problems. Our prayers encompass much more than the physical, and there is so much more to a comprehensive answer from God to our needs than an instant transformation conforming to our agenda or “fixed” ideas.
Jesus would never have taken the time to teach us something that is futile in changing the life we live. God is not playing games with us when He says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, Amen,” or anything that fits this true pattern for prayer, has as one of its purposes the removal of thoughts of futility when we pray or even consider praying.
It is as though we get to the end of a whole litany of requests for what we think we need; the confessing of our sins; the contemplation of evil in our world; the consideration of those who have offended us and done us wrong and forgiving them; the transformation we want in our spouse or children or others; the pressure on us of job and life and “things;” and we cap it all off with “but keep us from evil and the evil one.” Just the thought of it can be tiring, wearisome, and we think, “Will God do anything about this?” And then comes the conclusion, which is to say, “Of course He will…for Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever!” To me it is like saying in your heart, “Hallelujah! You, my God, my Father…You, my Savior, my Lord… this is Your kingdom, Your power, Your glory! God do what You alone know is best for me and I will accept Your answers because I know You love me!” The conclusion should lift our spirit to the throne of grace. It should leave us encouraged.
An Easter hymn, that I first sang when living in Scotland in the 1970s, comes to my mind when I think of these concluding words to the Lord’s Prayer, reflecting on what we have prayed, how we have prayed, why we have prayed. The words concluding the Lord’s Prayer are much more concise, but this hymn captures the sentiment gloriously:
“Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won; angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away, kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.”
“Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb; lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom; let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing, for her Lord now liveth, death has lost her sting.”
“No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life; life is naught with out thee; aid us in our strife; make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love: bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.”
“Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son, endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.”
Easter is the antidote to futility! The power of the Resurrection is the answer to those futile feelings and thoughts that praying is not going to accomplish anything. This Good Friday and Easter Sunday please consider this: your prayers are not only NOT futile, they are the very means through which you will first see your victories. Your prayer life will be the very place where you will first understand that Jesus has made you more than a conqueror… over sin and everything that has previously been your stumbling block or destroyer. This Easter celebrate along with your Savior’s resurrection, the resurrection of your prayer life!
Encouragement:
“Heavenly Father, transform my heart concerning prayer, and let me be like your Son, who always hungered to be in your presence through prayer. May I know the power of His resurrection in my prayer life.”


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Payh Blog
Mar 13, 2008

Holy Week Thoughts

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Scriptural Basis:
“Deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13b
Anderson’s Applications:
Suddenly turning a corner the sight before our eyes is overwhelming. Again and again, driving the Amalfi Coast of Italy, traversing the narrow, winding ribbon of highway that clings precipitously to the cliffs high above the waves, every turn presented a new more amazing vista. One village after another of clay tiled roofs hanging over the edge like steep stair-steps plunging to the sea. What a magnificent place to call home. What a glorious privilege to live here.
In another country, another century, millennia earlier, on a rocky road, familiar from childhood, the walking traveler, turned a corner and there before him was a sight to behold: numerous flat roofed houses, white stucco walls of dwellings packed along the hillside, clustered on top of one another surrounding the walls of a magnificent temple structure, adjacent royal palace, and spacious courtyards. The whole remarkable sight was encased within majestic city walls. Thousands called Jerusalem home. Thousands more crowded her streets, journeying pilgrims gathered for the festival of Passover. The sight did not move the traveler to wonder and amazement, but to tears—-Jesus wept. (Luke 19:41-44)
He wept knowing their destiny. He was well acquainted with the nature of evil and the outcome of those who remain in its ugly grasp. Here was an entire city whose peace was hidden from her eyes. Even her children would be dashed to the ground. And He whose entrance on this day was heralded with shouts of hallelujahs would suffer the ignominious and painful suffering of crucifixion before the week was done.
Many years ago when I was attending a large conference for military chaplains, our speaker in the middle of his talk suddenly paused and asked his audience of over 1500, “How many of you believe when you get to the bottom of it, that at heart most people are good?” The question was not expected and his tone of voice encouraged a unanimous response. Most of the hands in the room shot up. Then he asked in a much different tone, “How many of you believe that at heart most people are evil?” Only a few hands, a very few, joined mine. Perhaps my optimistic instinct was with the first group; my knowledge of the truth was with the latter.
Still when I drove with my wife around the Amalfi Peninsula a few years ago I reveled in the sight and thought little of the inhabitants and their destiny. There is so much to distract us from the sight of evil around us, even more so the evil within. The truth is, evil inundates our world. “Who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun?” asks the author of Ecclesiastes. There is nowhere it is not present and using every tool of deception to produce ruin and death. The news, obviously focused on what sells, screams evil at us every day. We must wonder when and where it will touch our own family; Auburn, University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech?
Still, when we pray as we should moment by moment, it is not just the evil around us from which we pray for deliverance for ourselves and loved ones, it is the evil within our own hearts that needs our attention and this prayer. As we approach once again another Holy Week, consider your own eyes for your world and for your own heart. If you are attentive to the evil within, you will be more moved by the evil around you. You will not rejoice, for example, in the downfall of an arrogant politician, but with tears pray for Eliot Spitzer and his family, for salvation and redemption from sin, made possible in the cross of Christ.
Encouragement:
“Heavenly Father, deliver me from the evil in my own heart, and from every attempt of Satan to bring me ruin and shame. Use me, a sinner saved by grace, in the lives of others burdened by the guilt of sin.”


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Payh Blog
Mar 06, 2008

A Nose Sensitive to the Cesspool?

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Scriptural Basis:
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13

Anderson’s Applications:

A cynical teenager cornered the pastor of his church one Sunday and asked him sarcastically how much sin weighed, because the pastor had used the phrase “the weight of sin” so often in his sermon. “How much does it weigh,” the boy asked, “ten pounds, fifty pounds, a hundred?” The pastor looked him in the eye and said, “If you put a four hundred pound weight on the chest of a corpse, would he feel it?” He answered, “Of course not, he’s dead.” “Exactly,” the pastor said, “and neither will anyone who is “dead” to their sin feel it, no matter how heavy.”
All of us depending on our intimacy with God will feel our sin in varying weight. To some it is but a feather; your sin is neither understood as sin nor as the disease it is. While to others it is akin to David as we read in Psalm 32: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
It helps our understanding to notice this: when Jesus taught his disciples to pray “lead us not into temptation…” it was soon after His having been led Himself by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. (Matthew 4) Jesus is acutely aware of our inclination to sin; to give in to temptation; to be persuaded by the devil into every kind of evil. He experienced personally Satan’s power and methods; to seek to ruin lives by gaining a foothold with sin’s initial and “natural” attractiveness. Satan will use our nature to pull us into sin. Never make light of the temptation of Jesus as some easy or irrelevant battle of which the Son of God could make quick work. If you do, you simply do not know the truth of it! The fierceness of the fight and the maliciousness of the consequences are far beyond anything we can even imagine, and it has everything to do with your own battles. The great gift to us is that Jesus stripped off Satan’s mask in the wilderness, laid bare his methods, and revealed the evil essence of sin itself.
It is no light matter for Jesus to teach us to pray, with passion, that God “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Sense the emotion of the Lord in Matthew 26:41) Jesus is quite aware that fighting temptation is our perpetual perseverance. He knows we are enticed by evil desires from within, and by Satan’s masquerades from without. It will often be almost more than we can bear: “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” No wonder we need to cry out to God to not let us fall into Satan’s lair where sin will engulf us. There would not be a need if the threat was not real! The object of this petition is that we be delivered by God’s grace, through a compelling love for Christ, and motivated by a hunger for righteousness, so we might experience the joy and freedom of “overcoming.” This “overcoming” is the promise emphasized in the concluding words of all seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3, “To him who overcomes I will give…”
Alexander Whyte, a particularly influential minister of the gospel in 19th century Scotland, wrote, “One essential symptom of the regenerate [born again] life is a permanent, and permanently horrified, perception of one’s natural and (it seems) unalterable corruption. The true Christian’s nostril is to be continually attentive to the inner cesspool.” If this is genuinely your heart’s sensitivity to sin…. your sin….you will overcome! Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In Him alone, so can you.

Encouragement:

“Father, keep my nose sensitive to the sin within, and help me by my obedience to overcome temptation each moment every day in Christ.”


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